The Day of the Lord Cometh
Murshid Samuel L. Lewis
(Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti)
“The Day of the Lord Cometh” draws its title and substance from the Book of the Prophet Malachi, the last of the Divinely inspired writings of the Old Testament. As the poem says, “the message of the Prophets is for all times, not for the ancients alone, because it abides in eternity.” This is what might be called the Eternal Torah, the realization of the teaching that “God’s mercy endureth forever and ever.” Moreover, the prophecies of the past are not all consummated, but still live today and offer the possibility of fulfillment to those who are attuned to their inner significance.
There is a general point of view with regard to Scripture that Murshid as a mystic and kabbalist regarded as basic. In his words it can be expressed thus: “The Bible is also the story of every soul which has to go through the same training.” Or, “The Bible is the unfoldment of your own being.” He points out, “The Hebrew Scriptures were originally examined from four distinct levels, called the four pardes by the Kabbalists because you were in paradise if you knew life from these four points of view. These four grades are: ‘P’, the literal scriptures about which everybody scraps; ‘R’ which are the parallel meanings such as the verbal symbols used in poetry, sea for water, water for sea, and so on; ‘D’ the deep symbolical interpretations of scripture, as for example how the story of Moses leading the Hebrew people out of Egypt to the promised land symbolically stands for the process of liberation of the human soul from samsara to nirvana; and finally ‘S’ which means it is your actual experience, an experience that you have gone through—it is the mystical side. These four grades correspond to four states of consciousness: physical, subtle, spiritual, and divine. The mystical experience doesn’t deny the symbolic or the parallel or the verbal experiences, but they fit together into something very grand. When we learn that, we learn the Universe.”
To call “The Day of the Lord Cometh” or any of the works in this volume poetry, while true, is an unnecessary limitation. It would be like calling the Bible poetry; for while it is poetic, the essential feature is prophecy, which doesn’t necessarily mean predicting. The heart of man, by becoming empty of self and universal, becomes the instrument through which God speaks and guides humanity. Not all the writings contained in the Jewish Scriptures are considered as revelation nor even as holy by their own scholars; for it was necessary that an appropriate sign be given, such as “Thus speaks the Lord…. “And we find a Samuel of today also speaking in this fashion: “The word of the Lord is….”
The persona in the poem shifts from Moses to Jeremiah to Malachi, yet all speak in the name of the Most High. The Prophets are not restricted to speaking only of the past, but consider also the historical fabric of the present time, e.g. the subject of Marxism. There is a continuity of the Prophets, like a chain, and it is this which allows Samuel to speak in one voice or in another as determined by inspiration. Rather than confusing one, this change in voice and tense brings one into the timeless world of the prophetic message.
Much of the essence of “The Day of the Lord Cometh” is prefigured within a short poem written by Murshid on May 12, 1932. It is of interest from the standpoint of the predictive and prophetic elements in his writings; therefore we will include the whole poem here. It is found in the unpublished work, “The Book of Cosmic Prophecy.”
Then the Lord spoke, saying:
“Open thine eyes, Samuel, and relate what thou dost see.”
I said, “O Lord, I see a vast desert, a barren desert of sand.”
The Lord said, “Thou seest truly, for this is the land of Palestine,
And its barrenness is due to the barrenness in the hearts of men,
To the barrenness of Israel and also to the barrenness of the Nazarenes and Muslims.”
And He said: “Look thou again.”
So I looked and saw naught but a falling rain;
No land, nor sea, nor sky, only falling floods of water.
Then God spoke, declaring:
“This rain is My Mercy, which never doth cease.
But when the hearts of men are hardened, like a rain which stops in mid-air,
It touches not the ground, there is no room for it.”
Then He said: “Look thou once more.”
And behold! I saw a single sprig above the ground,
A single shoot on the bare desert.
Then spoke the Lord:
“Blessed be thou. O Israel, the redeemed of humanity, for now humanity is saved.
The seeds of righteousness have remained beneath the ground,
From generation unto generation they have remained;
From Baal Sherri Tov unto this day bath there been no prophet in Israel.
The sprig which thou seest is the fruit of Baal Shem Tov,
That even the life of the Chassidim is not fully dead;
The life from the Gaonim and the Kabbalists has been transmitted to this age.
Long have the seeds remained under the ground,
And as to the prophet Elijah the sight of a small cloud meant a drenching downpour,
So this single twig in essence contains hosts of forests and fields.
For the children of Israel return to the land of their fathers;
In matter they return to sow the vine and corn in Eretz Ysroel,
And in spirit they return to partake of the manna of Heaven.
This day declare a new age and a new doctrine:
O men of Israel, no longer shall ye be a law unto yourselves,
For the synagogue shall be open to all men, or the synagogue shall go.
The Cheder1 shall not be for the Yahudim2 the exclusion of the Goyim3
And Talmud Torah4 shall be naught but the school of Holiness.
As the Scriptures teach—My temple shall be a house of prayer for all people,
So only shall that place be sanctified whose doors are open to all,
The saint and sinner, the believer and the heretic, the men of old faiths and new faiths,
All shall congregate in the synagogue of righteousness, in the temple of peace.
The message of this earlier work is expanded upon in “The Day or the Lord Cometh.” The use of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet to represent transcendental realities is quite in keeping with the depths of Jewish mysticism. That the 22 letters of the alphabet are hieroglyphs for states of being is demonstrated, to mention only one source among many, in Fabric D’Olivet’s The Hebraic Tongue Restored. The ancient Sepher Yetzirah, which tradition attributes in part to Abraham, sees all of creation in terms of the actions and interactions of these twenty-two letters. This is a subject deserving a depth of study and cannot be handled in a summary fashion. “The Day of the Lord Cometh” focuses on the mother letters, Aleph, Mem and Shin, Only one observation among many which might be made is that Shema is composed of these three letters; and Shem is described in the poem as the universal Light of God.
“The Day of the Lord Cometh” was written in 1938 at a time in the history of the world when Hitler had just annexed Czechoslovakia. Yet, thanks to the Divine Vision vouchsafed to Murshid Samuel L. Lewis, we are shown the future. This future-sight shows Hitler overcome, but doesn’t stop there. The poem proceeds to deal in universal terms with the underlying causes of his ascendancy, and the opportunities available to man for fulfilling the Eternal Torah and thereby attaining a true and abiding peace.
Hitler is seen archetypically as “Madman”; and madman has come before in history: he has even sat on the throne of Israel. Hitler recognized the archetype of Moses and opposed him, but Israel remembered him only in name and not in deed. Madman’s ascendancy serves as the catalyst which unites the forces of Mem and Shin and thus prepares the way for real peace: a peace which allows for freedom in the realm of thought, a peace which is beyond the mere cessation of hostilities in the political arena. In terms of World War II this was a prediction of the ultimate uniting of the United States and the Soviet Union as Allies, and also a warning that a mere physical union in the struggle would be insufficient. (The peace conference which marked the end of the war is anticipated in the next poem, “What Christ? What Peace?”)
The union of the forces of Shin and Mem is not sufficient in itself, yet it leads to the assimilation of Aleph, the living law of Moses and the Prophets. Or, in the words of the poet, “Return ye, return ye unto your Lord! Return and rejoice, return and be happy. For happy is the man who walks in the way of the Lord.” And in the midst of political turmoil, Samuel quotes from the Prophet Malachi: “Then they that feared the Lord spoke one with another; and the Lord harkened, and heard, and a Book of Remembrance was written before Him….” In the historical context, this refers to how the holy Ones of earth, who might be called members of the Spiritual Hierarchy, directly influenced the outcome of the second World War through calling on the Lord. The promise is received, as in Malachi, of the coming of the Day of the Lord: “The sun of righteousness arising with healing in its wings,” the descent of Ruach Hakodesh (the Holy Spirit) upon mankind. This is a phenomenon which many are now witnessing and calling by various names, such as the Aquarian Age or the New Age. The poem ends on this note with the universal vision of Jerusalem anew.
—Wali Ali Meyer
1Elementary Hebrew School.
2The real name of the Hebrews, Ya-hu-dim, came from their constant repetition of “Ya hu!” One source for such a position is Martin Buber who write in The Prophetic Faith (Macmillan Company 1949, New York) : “What is the name of the God of this community? We cannot decide from the Bible of which of His names and titles Abraham addressed Him…. And we are justified in supposing that at the time when he wished to point to Him, so to say, with his voice, proclaim Him in a enthusiastic manner, he used that “tabu word” that “god-cry,” that “stammering,” “Yah” or “Yahu” or “Yahuvah,” “that is He!” or “This One!” or “This is it,” or “Oh He!” This elemental sound was apparently common to the west Semitic tribes, who hinted by it in a mysterious and enthusiastic way to the west Semit tribes, who hinted by it in a mysterious and enthusiastic way to the deity whose name could not be designated; we find it in this sense still in the mysticism of Islam. It was impossible to call the deity by this sound when they addressed Him directly, because it referred to the third person, but it was possible to use it when proclaiming Him.”—Ed
3Hebrew: literally, stranger; Gentile, non-Jew.
4Advanced school for the study of the oral and written laws.
The Day of the Lord Cometh
Three are the mother-letters of the sacred tongue,
Three and not two, three and not four:
Aleph and Mem and Shin.
Thus it is told in the repository of sacred wisdom,
First revealed to the Prophet Abraham in days of old
And recorded in the scroll of Ultimate Foundations,
The Sepher Yetsirah, and in the secrets of Israel.
The Lord summoned the Prophet Moses to the Summit of the mountain,
And the Eternal One, blessed be He, addressed Himself thus:
“Moses, My servant, stretch thine eyes, extend thy vision, look afar.”
Then the Prophet did even as the Lord commanded,
Stretching his eyes, extending his vision, looking afar,
Gazing to the uttermost kingdom, to the ends of the earth.
Then the Eternal One, blessed be He, continued:
“See also those near at hand,
Perceive all, the strange and the well-known,
Holding thy distant glance also,
For all belong to Me, their Creator.
From man another man may be distant,
To man another man may be alien,
But all are kindred in My sight, being of My spirit.”
Thereupon Moses did as the Lord commanded,
For the command of the Lord is not a weighty order,
The command of the Lord is not as obeisance required from a slave,
The command of the Lord is as love and light upon the soul.
So Moses set his glance upon the nations near at hand,
Yet extended his vision even unto the furthermost regions,
So there was no country that escaped his apperception.
When he had completed his task he sat in silence;
And after completing his silence, he opened his mouth:
“O Lord, I have done, done even as Thou hast wished,
For a command of the Lord is as a mighty boon,
It is greater than the greatest pleasure to the soul,
It is steeped in sweetness and brings no fatigue,
It bestows blessing upon blessing.”
Then the eternal One, blessed be He, replied:
“Yes, thou hast done well, truly hast thou done well,
For all things in all places have come unto thy vision;
Thou has seen thy brethren and thy neighbors,
Thou hast also seen the stranger beyond thy borders.
Now then, listen unto the words of the Lord, thy Creator:
Thou hast seen lands rich and prosperous,
Thou hast seen also the abodes of famine,
Thou hast beheld places fruitful with green corn and vines,
And thou hast also perceived where sustenance is meager.
Wherewith is this explanation given:
“Those are the lands of Mem wherein there is much water,
Where thy Lord has caused rain to fall and rivers to flow,
Where the waters of the sky and the waters from under the earth
Have united to bring forth much bread from the ground.
Verily there is great abundance in those lands.
Verily there is a multitude of riches in those places:
Thou hast seen mighty palaces and gigantic cities,
Splendid highways replete with divers forms of traffic,
Cattle and sheep roaming the meadows, full of fat.
But thou hast seen also that despite this, there is poverty;
There is poverty, there is servitude, there is slavery.
The wealth is only for the few, for the kings and their kin,
For the nobles, for the priests of the accepted religion.
The many do not thrive, the many are not well-clothed,
The many do not dwell in palaces but live in miserable huts;
Therefore where there is the sway of Mem there is injustice,
In the realms of Mem there is unrighteousness and even unnatural sin.
Where Mem resigns there is inequality,
Where Mem is supreme they do not know that I am the Lord,
Where Mem prevails temples are regarded as holy to the gods,
Where Mem holds sway human beings are not of much account.
Therefore the lands of Mem are an abomination to Me,
For they hold the words of man superior to the words of the Creator of man,
The blessings whereof pass even as the grass that withers,
And what the Lord has given, that also may He take away.
“Thou hast seen, too, lands where water is scarce,
Where rains fall not in flood, where stream-beds soon dry,
Where the sun is aflame and the ground cries in thirst.
These are the lands of Shin,
Wherein the people worship the moon and the stars,
Regarding the sun as a scourge, not as a sign of favour.
To them the wells and springs of the ground are holy,
They hold water as the source of all blessing,
They evaluate even the smallest drop,
They give thanks for it in every form;
But the people are not regarded as holy works of the Lord,
And innocent infants are sacrificed on the smallest pretext,
Passed through the fire to the gods, or left to die in the desert.
In these, the lands of Shin, there is often equality,
None are esteemed too high, few are held too low,
But because there is little prosperity, there is little wealth.
So the people of Shin have become robbers,
They rob the peoples of the lands of Mem,
They even steal, the one from the other, and regard this as right:
Therefore these people are also an abomination unto Me,
Their ways are not the ways of Truth.
“Now I, the Lord, the Eternal, say unto you:
Moses, My servant, thy ways shall not be as the ways of the people of Mem,
Neither shall thou be like the people of Shin;
Out of Mem, which is to say, Mitzraim, have I called thee and thy people,
And from Shin, which is to say Yeshimon, the desert, shall I deliver them;
I shall show them through thee the ways if Aleph,
The ways that stretch neither to the right nor to the left,
The ways that go always forward yet are broad,
The ways of Aleph which are My ways,
And these thou shalt incorporate in the Holy Torah,
And in the declaration of Universality:
I am the Lord, Ani Adonai—My Essence is Aleph.”
Then I, the Prophet Jeremiah, did as the Lord commanded,
From an exalted station of the spirit I turned and called:
“Son of man, hearken to the message of your Lord—
One is He by whatever Name you may call Him,
Who is in all things and of Whom all things are,
For Truth is Eternal, even as the Holy One, blessed be He, is Eternal.”
The teachings of the Law abide to this day and forever,
Though man in his unbelief may set them aside,
Though man in his selfishness finds excuses for transgression,
Yet the teachings of the Lord abide.
Torah is from the Eternal and not from man,
The teachings of the Prophets also were inspired by the Eternal,
Verily these are emanations of Aleph,
Verily these are the first and these are also the last.
Son of man, attend to my voice and hearken:
Even to this day is Torah,
Even to this hour is Ruach Hakodesh, the source of all inspiration,
Even to this instant is the preeminence of Aleph and Mem and Shin.
“Now these are the ways of Mem:
The ways of Mem indicate the triumph of man over matter,
And the sway of Mem has brought the blessings of heaven through water,
And as through water the Divine blessings infiltrate the ground
bringing forth bread and the living products of the vine,
So through the years through Mem has learned to draw many riches from the ground.
So where there is Mem there is material wealth,
There is abundance of this wealth, there is concentration of wealth.
He who is wealthy is held preeminent,
While he who fails in the quest for wealth is as a sinner;
Whereas the unrighteous is as a sinner before the Lord
So the poor man is as a sinner in the courts of Mem,
For the lands of Mem are the lands of Mammon,
In the lands of Mem the unsuccessful is regarded as a weakling;
Though they preach that the Lord created all,
Though they proclaim the equality of all
(And in truth all are equal in the sight of the Lord)
Yet in the activities of Mem there are inequalities,
In the practices of Mem there are iniquities,
Lips may lead where hearts cannot follow,
And many in Mem-lands give their lip-service
Whose hearts are not affixed upon the Creator,
So steeped are they in their zeal for the created.
“There saith the Lord:
‘Even now when the people of the lands of Mem are being awakened,
Even now when they turn to prayer and toward righteousness,
The leaders want God and six percent interest,
The leaders desire God and money, God and debt.
May be zealous in sanctifying the seventh day to call it holy,
But the seventh year they regard not holy,
And the seven times seventh year they regard not at all.
The leaders have rejected the Jubilee;
They heed not that when the Jubilee is rejected Torah is rejected,
When Torah is rejected My ways are deserted;
When My ways, which are the paths of peace, are deserted,
There is no room left except for strife, for war, for bloodshed.
Though a million temples be builded in My Name,
Though a million, million prayers be offered,
They avail naught, being covered.
For the acceptance of compound interest is inimical to Me,
And the institution of usury is an abomination in My sight;
I proclaimed Jubilee, Mammon-Mem has proclaimed eternal interest,
Yea, even after fifty years, even after one hundred and fifty years is interest collected.
Man comes, man goes, and new-born babes are shackled with the burden of interest;
Their grandfathers reaped and now they must sow,
First the harvest and then the plow,
First the festival and then the planting—
This is the way of Mammon and men under its unholy sway.
The rejection of the Jubilee and the alleviation from bondage
Stand before Me, between Me and these people;
I did not deliver from Mitzraim to offer to Mammon,
I did not foreswear the idolatry of the temple for the idolatry of the mart.’
“Therefore the Word of the Lord is:
‘The Land of Promise will be restored when the Covenant is restored,
The Covenant is restored when men alter their hearts,
When increase and usury at the loss of a brother are foresworn;
The glory of Zion will be renewed when men and women trust in the holy writings,
The glory of the world will return when the glory of Zion has manifested.
For the message of the Prophets was for all times,
Even as the Lord has been called Ancient of Days.
Why is it that men no longer are inspired to new psalms?
Why is it that there are spiritual famines throughout the world?
Why is it that Holy Prophets appear no more?
They pray and there is no answer—the wars continue;
They beseech and there is no response—destruction prevails;
They cry and cry in vain—death reigns supreme.
The Lord is not a broker, the Lord is not a capitalist,
The Lord is Father of all, Creator of all—The Lord Is All.’
“Who among you, great mathematicians, can predict the course of the
Who among you, great mathematicians, can aid in building mighty bridges?
Who among you, great mathematicians, can help in perfecting ships of the air?
Who among you, great mathematicians, can cooperate in the construction of gigantic power plants?
And who among you, O mighty mathematicians of Mammon,
Who among you has solved the mystery of money and debt-bondage?
The course of the stars, the building of bridges,
The perfection of ships, the construction of plants,
These ye can do, even greater can ye do,
But ye cannot turn your faces against the Lord—
In that wherein doth your mathematics avail?
When an how will these colossal bond-debts be unloosed?
Who has given the right to bring forth infants in bondage
Even while proclaiming ‘All men are created free and equal’?
Is it freedom when babes are Mammon-shackled?
Is it equality when there is the mark of Cain upon race or class?
Who can reject the Word of the Lord and expect peace?
The Lord hath spoken, aye, He hath spoken many times;
Therefore your prayers are in vain to beseech the Lord against the Lord—
Debt leads to war, debt loads to destruction, debt leads to death.
“Thus saith the Lord:
‘Again have I set before thee life and good, debt and evil;
If thou loveth the Lord, thou shalt accept as abomination
What I, thy Creator, have ever called abomination,
For My ways are for the welfare of all, and lead to peace.’”
Then I, the Prophet Jeremiah, did continue:
“Because of the riches of the people of Mem,
Riches coupled with unrighteousness,
Riches coupled with injustice,
Riches not shared, riches withheld from the many,
Verily have the people of Shin protested and rightly protested.
The people of Shin have objected to the ways of Mem,
The people of Shin have foresworn the ways of Mem,
But the people of Shin have not followed in the pathways of their Creator.
Verily they have indeed turned from Mammon,
They have rejected many of the institutes of Mammon,
They have delivered themselves from the superstitions of Mammon,
And have also avoided many of the excrescences of Mammon,
But they have even departed from the virtues of the sway of Mem,
Associating Mem with Mammon instead of with the Lord.
“Therefore have the people of Shin not turned to their Creator,
They have not adapted themselves to the teachings of Moses,
They have, on their part, established the faction of Marx.
No prophet was this Marx who did hot hearken to the Lord,
Who, seeing the evil of the world, blamed the Lord,
Beholding the iniquities in Mammon he turned away from God.
No Prophet was this Marx who did not even study the folkways of men—
Cooped in a dark library,
Surrounded by a multitude of books,
Books that he accepted or books that he despised—
From his own ego-mind did he conceive patterns,
And from these patterns declared how the world should be operated.
His own life he could not control, but the world he would control:
How it should be governed,
How the multitudes should rule and be ruled.
This he did concerning a world over which he did not travel,
Nor did he mingle freely with the populace thereof,
Nor did he draw inspirations from his fellow-men
Nor did he heed them except to oppose them bitterly—
Apart from all he proclaimed his philosophy,
From his very personal viewpoint he thought and wrote,
From within himself he proclaimed the ‘Internationale.’
“Before the Lord the International is not wrong,
Before the Lord the workers will all be unchained;
Verily the chains of Mammon are the chains of physical bondage
Which return mankind to an Egyptian servitude.
For what profits a man if he gain the whole world
And loses his freedom of thought?
What value is there to be freed from the seen chains of bondage,
To be hampered by unseen shackles which imprison the spirit?
Aye, men of Shin, what is the atomic formula for the ‘Materialist Conception’?
Of what elements is your conception constituted?
Tell us, high-priests of Shin, the formula for a conception.
Show us the materials out of which your thoughts are formed.
Verily, the larger view, the universal view, is akin to divinity,
For the true universal assimilates all other views;
It harmonizes and does not dictate,
It encourages, it inspires, it does not uselessly dispute.
The people of Shin have turned from their Creator,
Accepting instead the teachings of the reformer, Marx.
For this Marx has arraigned against the exploiters of men,
Against the institutions which prevented justice and humanity;
But even more did he attack those who foresaw otherwise,
Who thought or felt differently from what his mind proclaimed,
Though their aims, though their goals may have been identical.
“Therefore saith the Lord:
‘The ways of Marx are not My ways;
If people follow Marx, they do not follow Me,
If the people of Shin accept Marx, they do not accept Me;
Though they are opposed to the ways of Mammon,
Yet they are not in the pathways of Peace and Truth.
Not only are the things of physical earth for man,
But the thoughts of the mental heavens are also for man,
The inspirations of heart-paradise are also for man.
All things of the Heavens and of earth are Mine,
And to Mine own have I bequeathed them.
“‘Who is Mi and what is Ma?1
Know this and perceive all things:
The ways of the spirit are for man.
Thus the days of the atom were days of inequalities,
But the days of the electron are for equality and justice;
And as the electron reveals the light in things,
So am I the Light in the things of earth and the spirit of man.2
The days of the atom fashioned the thoughts of the atom,
The differences of the atoms upheld the differences among men,
So where these thoughts prevailed, private property was upheld.
The days of the electron fashion the thoughts of the electron,
The identities of electrons suggest collective action,
Bringing now impetus to collectivism.
“‘But as chemistry is more than atom or electron,
So My paths leave scope for both the private way and the collective way.
If the thoughts of man are to be restricted,
Where is the growth? Where is this advantage?
Who was this Marx to demand one way of thought?
Who was this Hegel to monopolize men’s reasonings?
If it be wrong for capitalists to control the wealth of the world,
Is it not worse for the capitalizer to control the thoughts of men?
“‘My hand, yea, My hand shall to be against all capitalizers,
My wrath shall be against the mental monopolists,
Be they of the paths of the Fascism of the right hand
Or the ways of the fascism of the left—
They lead only to dictation, to injustice,
They rob man of the fruits of his inner being;
In Mammon-lands is man robbed of the fruits of labour,
In Marxian-lands is man robbed of the fruits of thought,
In neither nor in both together is salvation found.‘“
1A pun from the Kabbala, for mi means “who?” and ma means “what?” The interpretation thereof is similar to some forms of Indian thought. [See the Glossary also—Ed.]
2 In Hebrew this becomes a pun on Adam and Adamah. [man and earth. (See also Corinthians 15:47, a translation of which appears in Note #1 of “What Christ? What Peace?”)—Ed.]
All things that the Creator has made
(And all things that are made come from the Creator)
Are of Aleph or of Mem or of Shin.
From these three come all Holy Things
Wherefore the Light of Glory is called Shem.
The light of the sky is Shin-Aleph-Mem.
But on earth light is called or.
The difference between Shem and or is this:
That Shem, the Light of God, is universal,
Which interpenetrates all things,
From which everything that is has come,
From which Light there is no shadow.
“The sun shall be no more thy light by day,
Neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee;
But the Lord shall be unto thee the everlasting light,
And thy God thy Glory.
The sun shall no more go down,
Neither shall thy moon withdraw itself;
For the Lord shall be thine everlasting Light,
And the days of thy mourning shall be ended.” (Isaiah 60:19, 20).
But of or, the light of this world, there is shadow,
Or, the light from rashith, is of this world,
And the shadow of or is raw, which is to say, evil.
The Light of Shem is in neshemah, the soul of man;
The light of or is in ruach, the spirit of man,
But of raw there is not light, it being shadow.
When this shadow is personified it is the Tempter,
And the name of the Tempter may be given as Mephisto.
Now Aleph comes from God and gives rise to Torah and Moses,
And Mem also comes from God though produces Mammon,
And Shin likewise is of God though its sway be of Marx.
Yet raw is not of God but from the evil of man,
Mephisto also arises from the evil mind of man.
Shem may be likened to the sun and or to the moon.
And raw to the darkness of the moon.
When man turns from God he gives sustenance to raw.
Or feeds the righteous but the evil produce raw.
There is no shadow in the Eternal, blessed be He,
There is only shadow in man as man turns from the Lord:
When man returns, verily when he returns
He turns and returns to the Light.1
The Eternal, blessed be He, is Light upon Light—
This is the mystery of Ararat.
The evil one, the Tempter,
The personification of darkness upon darkness,
Is tartares, the opposite of ararat, which is Mephisto herein.
1This is a play upon the Hebraic shuvo (Gr. Metanoia, Arabic tauba, meaning return, repentance, change-about).
Now this Mephisto, seeing the plight of the world,
Whose delight is in plight and not in light,
Beholding the machinations of the men of Shin against the powers of Mem,
And the persecutions of the men of Shin by the authorities of Mem,
Concentrated his will upon man, men and weakling,
And in Ashkenazi he found the Nazi,
The weakling lout called Madman.
The spirit of Mephisto fed upon this weakling,
And yet Madman’s spirit fed upon Mephisto;
Mephisto verily is in all things a vampire,
And his spirit, touching the spirit of the weakling,
Generated in him and in his kind vampirism.
Thus the party of Mephisto was born,
A new party alongside those of Marx and Mammon,
A party which can only stand when that of Moses is not.
Then Madman with his Mephistophelian mania,
Perceiving the struggles between Mem and Shin—
Struggles which arise when the light of Aleph is dimmed—
Foresaw how to establish the power of Mephisto
And in that, extend his own sway.
For there is a modicum of the Mercy of Moses in Mammon,
And a heritage of the Wisdom of Moses in Marx,
But naught of Moses in Mephisto and Madman.
So Madman addressed the people of Mem;
“People of Mem, my favorites, my loved ones,
The party of Marx are your evil enemies,
Even as they are my most loathsome enemies,
Even as they are enemies of enlightenment and culture.
And the party of Marx is led by the people of Moses;
Let me rid you of the people of Moses,
I shall be freeing the world of the diabolatry of Marx;
The menace of Marx shall be removed
When the people of Moses are no longer in high places.
They plot against the security of the world,
They are enemies of law and equilibrium,
They incite unrest, they produce revolution,
They have caused every great war;
Only uproot them and the world will be in peace;
Ye shall have prosperity evermore.”
Furthermore Madman addressed the people of Shin,
He spoke to the people of Shin alternately with the people of Mem:
“People of Shin, the party of Mammon are your vile enemies,
And I, who am your greatest friend, detest the party of Mammon;
They have brought all manner of wretchedness upon the world,
They are the enemies of humanity.
They monopolize wealth and blessings,
They grind the poor down in their poverty—
I, who was born a poor man, know this above all;
I am one of you, I am for you.”
Thus did Madman grow and grow and grow,
Thus did Israel wane and wane and wane,
For Madman recognized Moses and opposed him,
But Israel preserved only the name of Moses—
The will to follow him had gone,
Ruach Hakodesh1 had risen from earth;
When, oh when would it return?
“Then they that feared the Lord spoke one with another;
And the Lord hearkened, and heard,
And a book of remembrance was written before Him,
For them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name.
And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts,
In the day that I do make, even Mine own treasure,
And I will spare them, as a man spareth
His own son that serveth him.
They shall ye again discern between the righteous and the wicked,
Between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.
For, behold, the day cometh, it burneth as a furnace;
And all the proud, and all that work wickedness, shall be stubble;
And the day that cometh shall set them ablaze, saith the Lord of hosts,
“That it shall leave them neither root nor branch,
But unto you that fear My name
Shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in its wings;
And ye shall go forth, and gambol as the calves of the stall.
And ye shall tread down the wicked;
For they shall be as ashes under the soles of your feet
In the day that I do make, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 3:16-21)
Then I, Jeremiah the Prophet,
Desiring above all else that Ruach Hakodesh descend upon mankind,
Turned and addressed the sons of man, saying:
“The Lord is the Eternal One, blessed be He,
Than Whom is none else,
Whose Mercy and Lovingkindness shall endure forever,
Who is the Redeemer and Who would save.”
Today the nations of the world are at war,
Even as it was foretold are they in battle,
And all the lands of earth are being drenched in blood.
But fear not, for Mem and Shin have become united,
The ways of the left hand and of the right hand are no more;
Verily this is the first step.
Now unto them should be assimilated Aleph; this is the final step.
To destroy Mammon is not enough:
We must prevent a recurrence,
We must find the ways of peace,
We must return, return, return, O Israel!
The Lord is patient, the Lord awaits;
With the descent of Ruach Hakodesh will it come,
With the reincarnation of Talmud Torah in the Holy Land and in the world.
“Thus saith the Lord:
‘When My Spirit is poured upon all flesh,
When the young really have visions,
When the old actually dream dreams,
When the house of the Oracle is restored,
Then shall come the final day of triumph.
For the Message of the Prophets is for all times,
Not for the ancients alone,
Because it abides in eternity.
“‘Who is this Pharaoh who knows not Joseph?
Not only the Madman of Egypt from whom Moses delivered,
Nor the Madman of Antioch from whom Judas the Hammer delivered,
Nor even the Madman of the Ashkenazim—
For I, the Lord, am the Deliverer, the Redeemer,
And in all redemption it is My Spirit, Ruach Hakodesh—
When Ruach is near there can be no Madman,
When Ruach is afar Madman approaches.’
“No peace on earth until there be peace in heaven;
Too often, only too often, has peace been an interval between wars;
Too seldom, only too seldom, has peace been an aim in itself.
What is this peace? Yea, what is this peace?
Is it the period for commercial rivalry,
When great men of wealth hurl their power against one another?
Or is it when capital is aligned against labour
And labour struggles against capital?
Is it peace when the rich rob the poor?
Or is it peace when labour is exploited by its own leaders?
Is it peace when one race is condemned by others,
Only to, join its very persecutors in shackling still other peoples?
What is this peace which all would have
But which so many would deny to other men?
“Return ye, return ye unto your Lord!
Return and rejoice, return and be happy
For happy is the man who walks in the way of the Lord. Selah.
“What if you destroy Madman and accept the paths of Mammon!
What if you uproot Madman and follow the doctrines of Marx!—
To exclude other doctrines,
To restrict the ways of thought,
To inhibit the free expression of the inner spirit!
If you annihilate this Madman and restore not the teachings of Moses,
Pharaoh will come again,
Haman will return,
Antioches Epiphanes will reincarnate,
And Herods will slaughter many babes.
Verily will another Madman come and still another
Till the whole world be doomed.
“Once a Madman sat upon the throne of Israel1
In the very seat of Solomon did this Madman sit,
Who ruled according to wickedness,
Nor did follow in the righteousness of the Lord;
He desecrated the temple,
Even more than the later mad Antioches did he desecrate the temple,
But the wicked priests did not protest—
For unto the priests were powers and privileges granted.
Then did Mephisto reign indeed and Moses was buried,
Moses was deeply buried in the rubbish heap.
Then the Lord, the Holy One, the Eternal, Blessed be He,
Seeing the suffering of the Holy Ones, hearing their cries,
Perceiving the ascent of Ruach Hakodesh,
Summoned the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar by name,
And unto the holy city did this Nebuchadnezzar come.
Then what did Israel? What did Israel in time of trouble?
Were many prayers raised to their Lord?
Was there a return to the paths of the Tree of Life?
Verily did the people of Israel accept the madman on the throne,
And hostile were they to the anointed of the Lord.
1See Jeremiah: 37-40. This is not the only instance where the kings of Israel fell into this same error. See also Kings I, II—Ed.
“Then I, Jeremiah the Prophet, spoke in their midst,
And for speaking was I cast into prison,
Into the pit was I thrown.
But the Lord, the Eternal, blessed be He, was with me,
In the darkness His Holy Spirit remained with me.
Then I saw in the days of battle, in the midst of warfare,
The men of Mem opposed the men of Shin,
Even as in latter times the men of Mem opposed the men of Shin.
The men of Mem said:
‘Let us turn unto Egypt, the greatest of the powers of Mem,
And the King of Egypt shall deliver us,
And we shall wax prosperous,
Nor fear the King of Babylon, nor any other kings.’
But the men of Shin, being the humbler kind,
Thrown into servitude by the mighty princes of Mem, opposed, saying:
‘Rather let us turn unto our brethren of Moab;
We were slaves in Mitzraim, we are slaves even now—
Workers of Israel, unite, and turn to Moab.’
So fierce was the strife between Moab and Mitzraim that Madman remained,
Even one Madman after another sat upon the sacred throne of Israel.
And when Madman proved too villainous, to Moses they did not turn,
But the party of the right turned to Mitzraim,
And the party of the left looked to Moab,
And I, Jeremiah, was alone as the party of Moses.
Yet the Lord triumphed, verily the Lord did triumph over Madman,
As the Lord will always triumph over Madman.
“Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people,
Return and restore, restore and return,
Assimilate your ways and practices unto God;
Before Talmud Torah never can Madman stand,
Though he be of Israel, though he be an Ashkenazi,
Though he be of a nation afar or near.
In the coming day shall many walk to the mountain of the Lord,
And shall journey to the temple of the mountain,
Those who are near and those who come from afar shall say:
‘Come ye, and let us go to the mountain of the House of the Lord,
To the House of the God of Jacob.’ (Isaiah 2:3)
“The unity of Israel shall not come by race,
Neither shall it arise from concordance of worship,
But he that sees the Spirit of God shall be known as Israel,
And he that follows the Law of God shall be called Jacob.
There shall be peace in the world when there is peace in Zion,
There shall be peace in Zion when the power of Mammon is no more,
There shall be satisfaction in Zion when the shackles of Marx are removed.
Universality is not enough:
Till there is universality in the mind, in the heart, in the spirit;
For thou shall love universality with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy might.”
“Then I, Jeremiah, beheld a vision,
For the Lord, the Eternal, blessed be He, vouchsafed unto me a vision,
Even while I sat in contemplation did this vision come.
There was a vision of Jerusalem anew,
Not a new Jerusalem of the heavens, but Jerusalem on earth,
Even the self-same Jerusalem that has always been.
In the heart of this Jerusalem was a temple,
And the city of Jerusalem was about this temple,
The streets of Jerusalem led to this temple.
To this temple came all peoples to worship:
The people of Israel on the seventh day,
The people of Ishmael on the sixth day,
The people of Edom on the first day.
‘For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same
My name is great among the nations;
And in every place offerings are presented unto My name,
Even pure oblations;
For My name is great among the nations, saith the Lord of hosts.’ (Malachi III)
No longer were there fisticuffs in holy places,
No longer did sect strive with sect, cult with cult,
But selected men of Jacob did Guard the temple;
No more was there worship except in humility,
Nor were pilgrims robbed,
Nor did innkeepers exploit them,
Nor were pretended relics sold at any price.
“There the exiles of Israel led in humility—
They did not lead in worship,
They did not lead in argument,
They did not lead in ostentation,
In humility alone did they lead, as Moses had before them.
No longer did Ishmael turn upon Israel,
Nor the sons of Edom against one another in holy places,
For the guardian of Israel was the guardian of the temple,
And the Holy Days of Israel were celebrated in the temple,
And when the temple was not used by the men of Jacob,
The other peoples had access to the holy place,
For the law of the Lord was for Ishmael and Edom.
The teachings of the Lord were for Israel and Jacob.
“Then verily was there brotherhood in the Land of Promise:
They that kept the Sabbath Day in holiness,
Kept also the Sabbath Year in remembrance;
They did not divide the Sabbath of the Lord
From the Sabbath of the Lord, to call it religion,
They did not uphold institutions of usury and debt in sacred places,
And in the seven times seventh year was the land divided anew,
In the fiftieth year was the Jubilee proclaimed. Selah!
“Then I, Jeremiah the Prophet, looked again:
This time I looked beyond the Land of Promise,
This time I beheld the nations near and far,
This time my vision encompassed the whole world
And behold! the Law came not merely from Jerusalem unto Minsk,
It came from Jerusalem even over the entire globe,
Over all the earth was the Law broadcast,
For the Law was Aleph
And the Light of the Law is Shem
In Which No Shadow Abides.
“I beheld the cities of refuge restored,
For every sacred city had become a city of refuge,
A city for the disheartened, for the persecuted,
For the downtrodden, for the uprooted
As the ancient Torah proclaimed, as the Eternal Torah holds—
In Edom, in Cush, in Ishmael, in all places,
Cities of Aleph in which Mem did not predominate,
Cities of Aleph in which the restrictions of Shin did not prevail,
And there was peace on earth, verily was there peace on earth.
Abraham—(Hebrew) “Master (or Father) of heart qualities” (raham), which include virtue and mercy and love. The great Patriarch and Prophet who brought the message of One God to the people of his time. He was the father of three great world religions. For it is from his descendants, who were called B’nai Israel, that came Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In the light of his spiritual realization, God revealed to him the keys to universal life. This revelation was recorded in the Sepher Yetzirah which still survives today.
Adam—(Hebrew) “He-of-blood” or “He-of-Heart Essence,” Mankind or universal humanity, both male and female, endowed with the Divine Essence, i.e., created in God’s image.
adamah—(Hebrew) “ground” or “substance,” As the feminine form of adam, adamah refers to matter as the groundwork of creation. In Genesis it is related that adam (“mankind”) was formed out of the “dust of the adamah,” or “through the refinement of matter.”
Aleph—(Hebrew) “A.” The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In the Sepher Yetzirah Aleph represents one of the three primary principles (mothers) which are the foundation of all things; “from these have proceeded all things that are in the world.” As the first and primordial principle, it reconciles and unities the natural polarity of the other two.
Ancient of Days—Before the creation of the world, God is. He presides over the course of history. This expression first appears in the vision of the Prophet Daniel.
Antioches Epiphanes—King of the Seleucid dynasty which controlled Israel during the second century B.C. In an attempt to force Hellenistic culture on the Jews of his times he sacked Jerusalem, desecrated the Temple, forcing the Jews to worship Zeus, and forbade all religious observances ordained by Mosaic law.
Ararat—(Hebrew) “light upon light.” The “heights” of ararat, usually translated “Mt. Ararat,” are where Noah’s “ark” came to rest after the Flood. Its most ancient translation is “orbit of luminous effluence,” describing an exalted state of consciousness. “All the religions speak of the mountain as representing higher stages of consciousness, and that God attainment may be likened to existence at the summit of the highest mountain.” (S.L.L) [Sea Thebes in the “Saladin” Glossary for an explanation of the “ark.”]
Ashkenazi—(Hebrew) “latent fire.” Germany or a German. The Ashkenazim are the descendants of Ashkenaz, great grandson of Noah, who as a people settled in an area later known as Germany. In rabbinic literature of the Middle Ages “Ashkenazi” is used merely to refer to Germany, whereas “Sepharad” literally refers to Spain. Since then Jews have been categorized according to their origin into Ashkenazim (from Middle and Northern Europe) and Sephardim (from Southern Europe and the Middle East).
Cain, mark of—The mark which God placed on Cain when he was sent into exile for slaying his brother Abel. This phrase has come to mean a mark of chastisement or exclusion.
cities of refuge—Six cities assigned by Moses to the Levites or priests of Israel to serve as places of sanctuary. They were governed by a High Priest and granted shelter and fair trial to the manslayer. “For the children of Israel, and for the stranger and for the settler among them, shall these six cities be for refuge.” (Num. 35:15) More generally, the cities of refuge represent an asylum for the hunted and oppressed, a place where shelter is given and violence prohibited. In the vision of the poet we see cities where one can go and take refuge entirely in surrender to God.
Covenant—(from the Hebrew berit, “cutting,” referring to the ancient manner of sealing an agreement by cutting it into the skin of the contracting parties) In the Old Testament, or Book of the Covenant, there are numerous instances of the Covenant between God and man. Its deepest significance can be felt when God tells the Prophet Jeremiah, “I will put My law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it.” Jer.31:33 M.T.) The Covenant is an act of Grace by which God offers His blessing to man, a blessing which can only be realized when God’s will becomes man’s will and man’s actions reflect God’s laws. For “the word … came … from the Lord, saying, “Hear ye the words of this Covenant…. Obey My voice, and do them, according to all which I command you; so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God.” (Jer.11:1-4 A. V.)
Cush—(Hebrew) “Black.” Ancient Ethiopia, the territory to the south of Egypt which was settled by the descendants of Cush, grandson of Noah and brother of Mitzraim (ancestor of the Egyptians).
Day of the Lord—This is a metaphor used by the Prophets, particularly Malachi, to refer to the ultimate victory of the Divine Will in human history. The Day of Judgement or Day of Resurrection is seen by them to be enacted on earth as well as in heaven.
Edom—(Hebrew) “Red.” The ancient country between Israel and Arabia, south of the Dead Sea. It was settled by the descendants of Esau, twin brother of Jacob. The struggle between Jacob and Esau in their mother’s womb (Gen.25:22) foreshadowed subsequent relations between their descendants, the Edomites (sons of Esau) and Israelites (sons of Jacob). In time, because of its sympathies with Christian Rome, Edom became synonymous with Christianity.
electron—That part of the atom which orbits the nucleus and by which bonds between atoms are formed. Electrons are light-weight, electrical, flashing, light-forming, bonding together in collectives. They create electricity by mass movement and release light by changing orbit. The view held by Democritus and Dalton that atoms were discrete and indivisible particles was broken by the discovery of the electron. It was discovered that the differences between atoms is purely a numerical one, consisting in the varying numbers of their component parts. Thus the concept of discrete and separate ego selves is shattered to reveal the common underlying identity of all beings, In the poem this change from the point-of-view of the atom to that of the electron is seen as a psychological change on the part of mankind. It marks the transition from, for example, the idea of the salvation of the individual soul, to the point of view of the mystic who sees his identity with all mankind.
Fascism—A dictatorial government
Hallelujah!—(Hebrew) “Praise be to God!”
Haman—Chief minister of Ahasuerus, King of Persia. His plot to destroy all the Jews in the kingdom was foiled by Queen Esther, the Jewish wife of Ahasuerus. He was hanged on the same gallows which he had erected for Esther’s uncle. His defeat is celebrated in the Jewish festival of Purim.
Hegel—German philosopher (1770-1831) who presented a dialectical view of history structured in terms of the triad: thesis, antithesis, synthesis. This philosophical system was used by Karl Marx to support his theory of the inevitability of communism as the outcome of political history. Murshid once asked the question, “What is the antithesis to Hegel’s theory?”
Herods—Members of a royal dynasty of Israel which originated in Edom after it had been forced to adopt the Jewish religion. They ruled in Israel as vassals of the Roman Empire. By the order of the Edomite, Herod “the Great,” all male children up to the age of two were slaughtered in Bethlehem. By this act he hoped to prevent the fulfillment of the prophecy that a child born in Bethlehem would become King of the Jews.
Holy Land—Traditionally, the terrain of Palestine chronicled in the Old Testament. The tradition of mystical Judaism is that the holiness of God is to be found even in the physical land. In the Old Testament, land or a particular place was considered holy when it was consecrated to the worship of God, for “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” (Ps.24:1) In keeping with its original meanings, therefore, the Holy Land is wherever people live in the Presence of God and fulfill the Divine Covenant.
Internationale—The anthem of the International Socialist Revolution. “Arise, you prisoners of starvation Arise! Arise, you wretched of the earth. For justice thunders condemnation, a better world’s in birth. No more tradition’s chain shall bind us; Arise, you slaves, no more in thrall. The earth shall rise on new foundations. We have been naught; we shall be all.”
Ishmael—(Hebrew) “God hears.” The son of Abraham by Hagar, his Egyptian maidservant. God promised Abraham that He would make of this, his first-born son “a great nation.” (Gen.17:20) His descendants, the Ishmaelites, peopled the north and west of the Arabian peninsula and eventually formed the chief element of the Arab nation and, later, of the Muslim community.
Israel—(Hebrew) “Ruling with God” or “God rules.” Jacob received the name Israel when, after wrestling all night with a “man,” he insisted upon being blessed by him before letting him go. “And he said, ‘Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for thou hast striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed.’” At this point Jacob realizes the true identity of this being which he feared: “for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” (Gen.32:29-31 M.T.) Israel is Jacob reborn. The name was given to him after Jacob had faced all sorts of adverse situations and overcame them all by fording God’s blessing in each one. Jacob, now Israel, went on to become the third Patriarch of the Hebrew people, who became known collectively as B’nai Yisrael, or the “Children of Israel.” The term Israel is used in the poem both to refer to the Jewish people as descendants of Jacob-Israel and, in a more universal sense, to all people who have had the vision of God and the realization that He is everywhere present.
Jacob—(Hebrew) “Supplanter.” Twin brother of Esau and father of the nation of Israel. In a subterfuge planned by his mother, Jacob disguised himself as Esau, the first-born of the twin brothers. In this way he obtained the parental blessing and succeeded his father as Patriarch of the Hebrew people. His twelve sons were the progenitors and heads of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
Jeremiah—(Hebrew) “Whom God has appointed.” A Hebrew Prophet who appeared before Jerusalem at the time of its downfall and strove to revivify the spiritual life of his people. He repeatedly warned the nation of Israel of the impending fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, but he was met with enmity and persecution. He lived to see his prophecies fulfilled when Jerusalem fell to the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. Thus began the long period of Jewish exile in Babylonia. Jeremiah called for peace at a time when nations prepared for war, for inner sincerity when priests were enforcing orthodox codes. He prophesied the coming of a “Day of the Lord” and the establishment thereafter of the Kingdom of God on earth. It is in the voice of Jeremiah that the poet speaks.
Jerusalem anew—The Kingdom of God on earth. The Jerusalem described in the poem after the fulfillment of the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Malachi.
Joseph—(Hebrew) “May God increase.” The elder of the two sons Jacob had by his second wife Rachel. Joseph was known for his beauty and wisdom. He was sold as a slave by his brothers and brought to Egypt, where he ultimately prospered and became the chief administrator of the kingdom and the head of the Egyptian mysteries. During a time of famine in Israel, the Jews came to him in Egypt where they flourished until a new family of Pharaohs “who knew not Joseph” came into power.
Jubilee—(from the Hebrew yobhel, “ram’s horn” which was blown in proclamation of the Jubilee) “According to the Mosaic law, not only was the Sabbath day holy, but also the seventh year; and the seven times seventh year was the Jubilee. All debts were forgiven and all land became once again the common property of all. The Jubilee was an integral part of the religion of Moses. It inculcated joy, restoration, release. The whole institution of the Jubilee emphasized the evanescence of the herenow.” (S.L.L.)
Judas the Hammer—(a translation of the Hebrew makabah, “hammer” from which the name of his tribe, the Maccabees, is said to have derived) Judas Maccabaeus led a brotherhood of Jews in a revolt against the religious tyranny of Antioches Epiphanies. He succeeded in entering Jerusalem and purifying and restoring the temple which had been desecrated by idol worship and heathen sacrifices. Another derivation of the name Maccabees is that it was formed from the combination of the initial letters of the Hebrew phrase which they used as their slogan: “Mee Kamaocha Ba-Eleem YHVH?” or “Who, among the gods, like unto Thee, oh God (‘who is, who was, and who will be’)?” The Jewish holiday of Chanukah, the festival of lights, celebrates the restitution of the temple to purity.
Land of Promise—The land of Canaan, later known as Israel, which was promised by God to Abraham and his descendants in the Covenant. “He hath remembered His Covenant forever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations: the Covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath unto Isaac; and He established it unto Jacob for a statute, to Israel for an everlasting Covenant; saying, ‘Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance.’” (Ps.1058-11 M.T.) This land, described as “a land flowing with milk and honey,” is by extension the purified heart, filled with mercy and compassion.
ma—(Hebrew) “what.” The substance of creation; in man, the physical body as the accommodation for the spirit or life-force. In Jewish mysticism, this term corresponds to the Shakti and Prakriti of Hindu philosophy.
Madman of Antioch—[See Antioches Epiphanes]
Madman of Egypt—[See Pharaoh]
Madman of the Ashkenazim—Hitler.
Mammon—(Aramaic) “Riches.” Usually used to denote material wealth when personified as an object of worship; there is, however, as expressed in the poem “a modicum of the mercy of Moses in Mammon,” e.g., generosity, charity.
Marx—A German philosopher and political economist (1818-1883) of Jewish parentage. He formulated a system of thought which gives class struggle a primary role in leading society from bourgeois control to a socialist society and ultimately to communism and the victory of the working class. He founded the International Socialist Movement which belittled Christian socialism and other messianic beliefs then current. The “heritage of the wisdom of Moses in Marx,” which is referred to in the poem, may be seen in Marxism’s remarkably messianic structure. “The materialist didactic that governs historical development corresponds in the Marxist scheme to God, the proletariat to the ‘elect,’ the communist party to the church, the revolution to the Second Coming, and the communist commonwealth to the millennium.” (Bertrand Russell)
Materialist—A philosophical idea advocated by Marx which states that physical matter is the only reality and that consciousness arises from the interactions of matter. Mem -(Hebrew) “M” One of the three mother-letters of the Hebrew tongue which represent the sounds by which heaven and earth were made, according to the Sepher Yetsirah. In its natural expression, it is the medium of the bounty and mercy of God, “the blessings of heaven through water.” [See mother-letters]
Mephisto—(from the Hebrew mephitz, “destroyer,” and tophel, “liar”) The personification of evil. It arises from and feeds upon the contractive and isolating tendency in the ego of man.
mi—(Hebrew) “who.” The life-force of creation; in man, the spirit or life-breath which vitalizes the body. In Jewish mysticism, this term corresponds to the Shiva and Purusha of Hindu philosophy. “It is the interaction between Shiva and Shakti, between Mi and Ma, which accounts for all of life.” (S.L.L.)
Minsk—A city in present day U.S.S.R. which was once an important center of Jewish learning. The real Jewish tradition, which has been hidden, is that when the Messiah comes, the Holy Land would extend from Jerusalem even unto Minsk (Minsk representing the furthest city of Jewish dispersion). In the vision which concludes this poem, the Holy Land is seen as extending throughout the entire world.
Mitzraim—(Hebrew) “Subduing, compressing power.” Ancient Egypt, the territory settled by the descendants of Mitzraim, grandson of Noah and brother of Cush (ancestor of the Ethiopians).
Moab—The ancient country to the southeast of Israel, which was settled by the descendants of Moab, son of Lot (thus blood relations of Israel). Moab’s political relations with Israel were strained and marked by frequent border warfare. In the time of Jeremiah, Moab was conquered by Babylon, the empire which struggled against Egypt for supremacy in the East. Israel, which was geographically situated between these two nations, became a focal point of international dispute.
Moses—(from the Hebrew moshe, “water-born”) “The most shining Prophet of the Old Testament, he gave to the world the divine law.” (Hazrat Inayat Khan) As an infant he was placed in a cradle by Hebrew mother and set in the Nile where he was found and adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter. By this act his mother saved his life from the Pharaoh’s edict that all male Hebrew babies be killed. Called upon by God to deliver his people from their bondage in Egypt, he led them on a 40-year trek through the desert and ultimately to Canaan, the land promised by God to Abraham and his seed. It is at this point that we meet him in the poem.
mother-letters—Aleph, Mem and Shin, according to the Sepher Yetzirah, are the three mother-letters of the Hebrew alphabet, the sounds by which God created the heavens and the earth. From them proceed Air, Water and Fire respectively, the three primordial elements which underlie all existence. “Water [Mem] is silent, Fire [Shin] is sibilant, and Air [Aleph] derived from the Spirit is as the tongue of a balance standing between these contraries which are in equilibrium, reconciling and mediating between them.” (Sepher Yetzirah)
Nebuchadnezzar—The Babylonian king by whom Israel was conquered and led into 70 years’ captivity. The Prophet Jeremiah warned the people of Israel that unless they returned to God they would be punished through Nebuchadnezzar as the instrument of God’s judgment. During his siege of Jerusalem (587 B.C.) the temple of Solomon was destroyed and 50,000 Jews were forced into exile.
neshemah (or neshamah)—(Hebrew) “exalted life essence,” sometimes translated as “breath.” The divine spark in man, the “breath of life” which God breathed into Adam’s nostrils, making him a living soul. (Gen.2:7) “Only in man is what is called in the Bible, neshamah, that is the exaltation of consciousness through the expansive movement of the breath and heart. This has been called ‘spirit’ and is called ruh by the Arabs and Sufis and ruach by the Hebrews. This latter may be termed soul, which arises from the individuation of Divine Spirit; but neshamah is that expansive movement which leads to Cosmic realization in the Supreme, Exalted Spirit [Shem].” (S.L.L.) Therefore in the poem when ruach is referred to as the spirit of man, this means the individuation of Divine Spirit which is often termed “soul”; and when neshemah is referred to as the soul of man this means that the non-individuated Supreme, Exalted Spirit, or Shem, is the essence of man’s soul, and it is in virtue of this that man is said to have been created in God’s Image. The Christian teachings, given by St. Paul in First Corinthians, that man has three bodies, the physical, subtle, and spiritual, is an exact parallel of the Hebrew teaching of the three gradations of soul, nephesh, ruach, and neshemah [For a parallel discussion of the “soul” or “ego” from the standpoint of Sufi metaphysics and its connection with breath, see NAFS in the “Saladin” Glossary. For a distinction of the three-body constitution of man according to St. Paul, see This is the New Age, in Person by Samuel L. Lewis (Tucson, Arizona: Omen Press, 1972).]
or—(Hebrew) “light.” As used in the poem, this light is the light of the created world, as distinct from the eternal Light of Shem, which has no beginning and no end.
Oracle, house of—The place where God reveals His Will. During the time of Solomon’s temple, the Oracle or Holy of Holies was the innermost sanctuary within the temple; it was considered the physical accommodation or abode of God. The message of the Prophets was that this “place” is in the heart of man. “The word for a ‘female’ in Hebrew means a receptive or negative person. This receptiveness was once used in the mysteries of religion where women served as Oracles and Priestesses. Even among the Hebrews one of the first Judges was Deborah…. And many Hebrew prayer books to this day have a prayer for the restoration of the Oracle, but nothing is done about it nor can anything be done about it until woman takes her place beside man. Not above him, not partner or superior in masculine pursuits, but in the fulfillment of feminine pursuits.” (S.L.L.)
Pharaoh—(Hebrew form of Ancient Egyptian per-o, “the great house”) Honorary title of the kings of Ancient Egypt. When the Jews first arrived in Egypt they enjoyed a privileged position under their patriarch Joseph, who had become the Pharaoh’s chief administrator. Later, “the Pharaoh who knew not Joseph” became the first in a line of kings who enslaved and persecuted the Israelite people. This period of slavery came to an end when Moses delivered them from their bondage in Egypt. By extension, the term Pharaoh refers to any cruel and unjust ruler.
Prophet—(from the Greek prophetes, “to speak for”) One who speaks for God, or one through whom God speaks to man. “When your heart is open, you receive from God and speak to men….And you speak from a spiritual or cosmic point of view rather than from an individual point of view” (S.L.L.) The Hebrew Prophets were the conscience of the people; in the face of powerful priests and erring multitudes they spoke with one purpose: to teach man “to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.” (Mic.68) This account of receiving the prophetic initiation is given in Isaiah 6:6: “Then flew unto me one of the seraphim, with a glowing stone in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar; and he touched my mouth with it, and said: ‘Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin expiated.’ And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said: ‘Here am I; send me.’ And He said: ‘Go, and tell this people….’”
psalms—Lyrical songs in praise of God, usually sung to the accompaniment of stringed instruments.
rashith—(Hebrew) “beginning” or “creation,” as used in the poem. The first word in the Old Testament in Hebrew is Berashith, usually translated “In the beginning.” Its figurative meaning, as given by Fabre D’Olivet, is “At first in principle” or “not yet in action but in power.” Thus the first chapter in Genesis describes the execution of the plan.
raw—(Hebrew) “evil.” (According to Fabre D’Olivet this Hebrew word is formed from roots signifying a turning in, establishing a false center of consciousness.)
1Two are the mirrors before the soul: the mirror of perfection and the mirror of incompleteness or imperfection.
2Wonderful is the mirror of perfection. It is filled with light. It is filled with love. It pours blessing upon every supplicant. It answers prayers. It returns with added enjoyment. It brings growth and power and inspiration.
3Wonderful, too, is the mirror of incompleteness, although in a different manner. For he who looks into this mirror has the light behind him. He stands before the mirror and his shadow is cast upon the shining black mirror thereof. Therefore when he gazes into this mirror he beholds the faults of whomsoever his thought entertains. By it he gains the gift of analysis and the faculty of discrimination. By it, too, he sees faults clearly. Yet he is unaware that the perception of faults depends upon the completeness of his own shadow.
by Murshid Samuel L. Lewis
Ruach Hakodesh—(Hebrew) “Holy Spirit.” According to the Old Testament, the medium of Divine Sustenance and Blessing. “This is nothing but the Divine Breath, the Holy Spirit which unites and connects all planes of existence…. Once the Divine Breath enters the nostrils, it illuminates the atmosphere of a person, and so long as it continues there is no ego-consciousness. However, the moment attention is drawn from God to anything whatever that hides the light in the consciousness and so makes accommodation for ego…. We find in the Hebrew Kabbalah that the Holy Spirit descends whenever the world is in need. It is neither the manifestation nor communication from particular spirits or angels, but a whole complete process so that the Will of God can be known to man, especially when man is in need.” (S.L.L.) “Behold, Thou desirest truth in the inward parts; make me, therefore, to know wisdom in mine innermost heart…. Create me a clean heart, O God; and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and let a willing spirit uphold me…. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” (Ps.51:8-19 M.T.)
Sabbath—(from the Hebrew shabbat. Usually translated “day of rest,” it has several root meanings: “seventh,” signifying “fullness,” “completion,” “perfection”; “to rest,” “to cease from outer activity”; “the returning,” i.e., to Divine Unity) Consistent with its literal meanings, therefore, the Sabbath is a time of rest in which one turns from worldly considerations to the All-in-all. The institution of the Hebrew Sabbath began with God’s Commandment to Moses and his people, “to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” The consecration of the seventh day refers back to the second chapter of Genesis, where it is related that “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work….” The observation of the Hebrew Sabbath was to be an eternal sign of their Covenant with God, “that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctifies them.” (Ezek.20:12 M.T.) The early Christians celebrated the Hebrew Sabbath, but the first day of the week, the “Lord’s Day” gradually took its place, as the celebration of the day in which Christ was resurrected. Mohammed chose the sixth day as the Muslim holy day of the week, a day in which the community assembles for united prayer.
Sabbath Year—The Sabbath was a keynote to a scale of Sabbatical observances among the Hebrew people—the seventh day, the seventh month, the seventh year, and the year of the Jubilee were all consecrated under Mosaic law. The seventh or Sabbatical Year was one in which all debts were to be cancelled and all farmlands were to rest uncultivated. During this year the spontaneous produce of these lands was free to all, especially the poor. [See Jubilee]
Selah—(Hebrew) “Forever.” A musical direction in the Psalms, signifying “lift up your voices.”
Sepher Yetzirah—(Hebrew) “Book of Formation” or the “Scroll of Ultimate Foundations.” Ancient Hebrew text, the oldest known of the books which comprise the core of Hebrew mysticism (Kabbalah). It reveals the origin and order of the universe, how heaven and earth were created and are sustained by the power of sound represented by the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and how this revelation was granted by God to Abraham. It presents every form of existence as an emanation of God, Who is in everything and everything is in Him.
Shem—(Hebrew) “Living Light,” “Glory.” “The Shem of the Hebrews is hardly described by our limited word ‘name.’ It means that renown which has come to one because of his absorption of living-light…. It indicates the Divine Energy…. And it is the coming into consciousness of this living-light which makes for spiritual and holy brotherhood…. It is the radiating, life-giving, non-self-centered continuous energy endowed with all qualities which operate as if from an infinite source to finite ends.”(S.L.L.) Shem may also be understood as the Divine Light in man’s soul (neSHEMah).
Shin—(Hebrew) “sh.” One of the three mother-letters of the Hebrew tongue which represent the principles by which heaven and earth were made, according to the Sepher Yetzirah. In its natural expression, it is the medium of the strength and temperance of God, the burning away of all impurities.
Solomon—(from the Hebrew Shelomoh, “Peaceful one”) The youngest son of David and his chosen successor as King of Israel. He executed the construction of the first temple in Jerusalem which served as the central place of worship for the whole Hebrew nation. He “succeeded in preaching and teaching monotheism to Israel … that the same God was over all, in all and through all.” (S.L.L.)
son of man—A common term in the Old Testament, denoting simply a human being. This phrase finds it fullest expression when, in the vision of the Prophet Daniel, it is revealed that “one, like the son of man” can inherit the Kingdom of God. “When the Bible speaks of ‘the son of God,’ and the ‘son of man,’ it means that he is a son of God who has recognized the eternal spirit as his parent and that he is a son of man who has recognized himself as the son of his parents who are as limited as he. We recognize our father and mother as our origin. The parents claim the child as their own and so delude themselves. Its origin is universal spirit; and in this we are all brothers and sisters, without distinction of high or low, of race or caste, of creed or religion.” (Hazrat Inayat Khan)
Talmud Torah—(Hebrew) “Study of the Torah” which, according to Jewish tradition, excels all things
tartares—(the Greek translation of the Hebrew sheol, “abyss”) The place to which the dead go before they are lifted up, a dark netherworld. It is almost the reverse in spelling as well as in meaning of the Hebrew word ararat.
temple—It was David who first proposed to replace the moveable tabernacle with a permanent structure, and this was accomplished by his son Solomon with the construction of the first temple in Jerusalem. According to biblical tradition, it was the chosen dwelling place of the Shekinah, the Divine Presence. This temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. But the prophetic vision presented in the poem of a temple in Jerusalem to which all peoples came to worship represents the fulfillment of God’s will: “For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” (Isa, 56:7 M.T.)
Torah, Holy—(Torah is Hebrew for “Teaching,” “Law”) The revealed teachings of God through His Prophet Moses, included in the Pentateuch, or Five Books of Moses, the first five books of the Old Testament, In its broader meaning, Torah refers to a law or precept directly embodying Divine instruction or revelation.
Tree of Life—According to the Sepher Yetzirah, the Tree of Life is the whole universe, the miniature of which is one’s own self. It is depicted like a map of creation, showing the paths by which God created the universe; these same paths show man the way of return to the Divine Unity.
Yeshimon—(Hebrew) “desolate waste.” One of four Hebrew words occurring in the Old Testament which have all been translated into English as “desert.” This particular word is applied to the wilderness of the Sinai and Negev deserts through which the Israelites traveled in their exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land. Their 40-year period in this area was marked by their joining in the worship of idols at the cult center of Peor; but it culminated in the revelation given to Moses on Mount Sinai.
Zion—(Hebrew) “Fortress” or “refuge.” One of the hills on which Jerusalem was built. Originally a Jebusite fortress which David captured, Mount Zion became sacred after he brought the Tabernacle there, containing the Ark of the Covenant and the tablets on which the Ten Commandments were engraved. When Solomon built the temple on the nearby Mount Moriah, he had the Ark transferred, and the name Zion was extended to include the temple and the temple mount. Zion is frequently used to refer to the whole of Jerusalem, the holy city, as well as to the people of Jerusalem as a whole, whose destiny, it is written, is in the hand of God. (Ps.97:8; Isa.1:27, 37:5) In some passages, Zion becomes the equivalent of the heavenly Jerusalem, as in Isaiah 60:14: “And they shall call thee the city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel,” Thus in the Bible, Zion is always associated with the in-dwelling Presence of God. Political “Zionism,” however, has concentrated more on geography and race than on God. Thus it cannot be considered Zionism in the Biblical sense.